Term Paper: Amount of Time Special Education Teachers Use

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Special Education Teachers & Their Investment of Time

The demands on a teacher of special education students have grown exponentially over the last few years. The increase in duties and responsibilities that special education teachers have been burdened with -- taking more and more of their time prior to and after class time -- may be among the pivotal reasons there is a crisis in this component of education. For example, an article in the journal Education (Plash, et al., 2006) reports that "special education teachers are more vulnerable to stress or professional burnout" than professionals in human service positions. Moreover, the study alluded to in this article -- conducted in Baldwin County, Alabama -- reflects that the biggest reasons for burnout and for switching to general education position among special education teachers are: "increased caseload"; "demands of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) compliance"; bigger class sizes; job conditions; and "occupational stress." By the year 2010, the article asserts, there will be a need for 611,550 special ed teachers in the U.S.; but the fact is that each year around 13.2% of special ed teachers leave their positions. Six percent of those leave the special ed field completely, while 7.2% switch to general ed.

The survey conducted for this research concluded that "role conflict, role ambiguity, perceived workload, and perceived principal support" lead to emotional and physical exhaustion.

An article in the journal the Clearing House (Thornton, et al. 2007), points to additional research on the pressures special education teachers experience. Why are so many special education teachers leaving the field? Employment issues (the fact that there is better pay elsewhere in the teaching field) are pertinent to this question, but working conditions are listed as the second-most crucial issue. To wit, special education teachers are burdened with: increasingly complicated job assignments; bigger class loads, job stress, paperwork, lack of empowerment and a school "climate" that is not necessarily conducive to rapport with kids who have special needs. On top of those problems, special education teachers face a "lack of collegial, principal, and district support," the article explains.

All special education students must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which takes a lot of time for the teacher. According to the San Diego Unified School District's Web site (http://www.sandi.net/depts/specialed/iep.htm), the IEP (which is mandated by the IDEA at… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Amount of Time Special Education Teachers Use.  (2007, July 30).  Retrieved May 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/amount-time-special-education-teachers/61204

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"Amount of Time Special Education Teachers Use."  Essaytown.com.  July 30, 2007.  Accessed May 20, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/amount-time-special-education-teachers/61204.